Post-Divorce Parenting Conflict Around the Holidays

Ways to Manage the Stress

For most of us, the holiday season is full of decorating, shopping, baking, wrapping gifts and parties. While this can all be fun, we all know that it’s also stressful!

Then, there is the added pressure of parenting. School grading periods are ending and big projects are due. There are also holiday programs like band and choir concerts to attend.

For divorced parents, this is all in addition to figuring out how to divide your time and make it “the most wonderful time of the year” for your children. It’s common for all of this stress to lead to parenting conflict.

How can you be jolly with so much to figure out? 

So, how are you and your ex supposed to handle the parenting conflict on top of everything else? Whether it’s your first holiday post-divorce, or you have been divorced for years, there can be tension and questions. Let’s talk about some things you can do to help make it a happy holiday season with minimal...

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5 Ways to Help Create a Happy Holiday for Your Kids

Holidays are a time for family, friends and spending time together, but this can be very complicated if you’re divorced and are trying to figure out how to make it a great holiday for your kids. And if it’s your first Christmas after a divorce, there will definitely be challenges. 

I still remember my first Christmas after my divorce. I struggled to keep our family routines as close to “normal” as possible, especially for my then-toddler. And honestly, it was very tough - dealing with my own emotions while trying to make the season special for my kids. 

So, if you’re going through this, I feel for you right now. It will get better (I know, it doesn’t feel like it, but it will). I do think that with some planning you and your co-parent can create a happy Christmas for your kids, and hopefully these five tips will help. 

1. Make Plans in Advance

As the holidays get closer, emotions can get more intense as we often become stressed...

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Celebrating the Holidays after a Divorce

Whether Thanksgiving will be your first major holiday after your divorce or whether you’ve been divorced for many years, the holiday season can be tough. November and December holidays usually include a lot of annual traditions, and those may feel quite different after your divorce. 

Sometimes people try to recreate those same traditions minus one person, and it doesn’t work out - it usually ends up being so obvious that someone is missing, and everyone ends up feeling sad about the loss.

So instead of trying to keep all of the same traditions, this is the perfect time to make new traditions - or at least try something new, even if it’s only for this year. It’s not set in stone that you do have to do the same thing year after year. 

Here are some ideas to add to your Thanksgiving list of traditions (or maybe replace some that don’t fit into your life anymore).

Go Informal...or Formal

If your family usually eats on fine china with cloth...

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Resources for Your First Holiday After Divorce

Your first Christmas or holiday after your divorce is going to be different. I still remember my first Christmas. I struggled to keep my routines as close to “normal” as possible, especially for my then-toddler. It’s a special circle of emotions that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

So, my friend, if you’re going through this, I really feel for you right now. It will get better (I know, it doesn’t feel like it, but I will) and hopefully these resources for getting through your first holiday after divorce will help.

How to Have a Strong Mindset for your First Holiday After Divorce

Being kind to yourself can be so hard right now. Lots of “failures” are playing on repeat, so it’s easy to sit with that all day long and think that you yourself are one of them. I promise, you are not. If you need to show yourself some self-care right now, here are 4 ways to be kind to yourself when dealing with a breakup.

I turn to journaling when...

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Talking to Your Family Members at the Holidays About Your Divorce

Telling parents about divorce can be hard enough. I have seen the tension in a divorce increase too many times as a result of meddling family members or friends. During the holidays, we tend to interact with family members and friends more than we do all year long, so there is even more opportunity for meddling than there typically is.

From my professional experience, it is so hard to watch when a couple has committed to handling their settlement in a mature and amicable way, but someone gets in one of their ears and tears the whole thing apart.

When I sit down with my clients who are going through mediation, I always encourage them to keep the conversations that happen in mediation in the mediation room. I know that when you're emotional, you may want to vent to a friend or a family member. However, divorce is a difficult process for everyone who is involved, and a meddling family member can make it even more complicated. 

Related post: How to Ask Your Spouse to...

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